Tag - tiki month

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MxMo: XCIII Blue—The Surf Savai’i Sour
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Tiki Drink: Three Dots and a Dash
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Basement Bar Design: Volcano Tiki Prop
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Tiki Compliant: The Queen’s Park Hotel Super Cocktail

MxMo: XCIII Blue—The Surf Savai’i Sour

Surf Savai'i Sour
mxmologoI’ve been terribly remiss in participating in Mixology Monday of late, but this month the stars aligned so perfectly that here I am. The particular items in sync here are the impending arrival of Tiki Month here at the Pegu Blog (and assorted other corners of the World Wide Web and Twitterverse), and the theme chosen by this month’s MxMo host, Andrea of Ginhound.

That theme is Blue. Tiki is of course the natural home of blue drinks. The stunning azure of blue curaçao is immediately evocative of the waters of South Pacific beaches, and I project a lot of Tiki-style drinks in this month’s round-up. (Caveat: I have made incorrect predictions in the past.)

Regardless, I have posted before about blue drinks, of varying degrees of quality, many were old recipes with an original or two thrown in. The drink I’m submitting today, the Surf Savai’i Sour is not, in fact, blue at all! The blue is in the special effects. And those special effects have gone through some significant evolution as I’ve worked on this drink.

Tonga 1
Just another crappy day in Tiki Inspirationville….
Savai’i Beach, Tonga Source

I wanted to do a surf-themed drink. The flavor profile came together quickly, but my chosen ingredients result in a drink so brown that simply trying to blue it up results in a look that more evokes the muddy ocean waters of the beautifully bleak Atlantic beach of my own youth. I’m using egg whites to get a good crema intended to evoke mighty ocean spray, so I moved to adding the blue as a liquid garnish enmeshed in the foam.

My first idea was a rocks drink, using a big chunk of ice, and giving it a name something like Diamondhead. I shook the drink, poured it over the ice, then drizzled some blue curaçao over it to work down through the foam in turbulent tendrils like mighty surf breaking on volcanic sands. In theory.

Don’t laugh. I know. I’m in the future, too.
Surf-Savai'i-Rocks
Sad, isn’t it?
If I can’t even get the effect to last long enough to move it from bar to light box and get a picture. That’s pretty lame to give to a guest. And it wasn’t nearly as cool looking as I had hoped anyway.

When the going gets tough, the tough try something else. I changed over to the up drink you see atop the post. I’ve seen countless bartenders do the kind of effect I used to draw the cresting wave, usually with Angostura Bitters in a Pisco Sour or the like. I’ve avoided trying it because it looks like one of those things that’s harder than it looks.

That makes exactly zero sense, Doug….

Quiet while I’m making excuses.

It is in fact dead easy. I put some blue curaçao in a dropper bottle and dropped out a connect the dots layout of the wave. Then you take a coffee straw and sweep evenly through the dots in the direction you want. For the wave, start at either end and go to the crest. The only really important thing to do is make sure your cream or foam is thick and rich enough to support your drops to begin with.

Here’s the recipe:

SURF SAVAI’I SOUR

  • 3 parts El Dorado 3 demerara rum
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • 1 part fresh pineapple juice
  • 1.5 parts St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
  • 1 scant part B. G. Reynolds’ Orgeat
  • Combine ingredients in a shaker, along with the spring removed form a cheap hawthorne strainer. Shake extensively. I usually shake it until the pressure built enough to about pop the seal, then release the pressure and repeat three times. Add ice and shake just enough to chill. Strain into a coupe glass. Wait for the foam to rise and stabilize, and many of the larger, visible bubbles to pop. Garnish with blue curaçao, droppered into a wave shape and stroked smooth with a coffee straw.

I’m pretty happy with the final flavor of the drink. It is intentionally a fusion of the Trader Vic and Donn Beach schools. It has Vic’s unctuous sweet and sour face, but the exotic spicy undertow of the allspice adds a distinctly Donish touch. Be careful with the allspice, though. The sweet spot of just enough is a very narrow band, nestled between great expanses of insipidity and “Wow! That’s a lovely glass of allspice liqueur you’ve served me!”

Cheers, all! Now go read the rest of the Mixology Monday offerings!

Tiki Drink: Three Dots and a Dash

Three Dots and a Dash
Three Dots and a Dash is a Don the Beachcomber classic with his signature spicy exotic melange of flavors. It manages to work in virtually every Beachcomber marker ingredient, including falernum, pimento dram, and honey mix. I’ve somehow missed making it for lo these many Tiki Months, and now that I have, I’m regretting the lost time. Make no mistake, it is a pain in the ass to make, with no less than eight ingredients beside the ice, and it needs flash blending to boot. To top it off, it really needs a complex garnish, as I’ll discuss after the recipe.

THREE DOTS AND A DASH

  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • 1 part orange juice
  • 1 part honey mix
  • 3 parts amber rum
  • 1 part Demerara rum
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1/2 part falernum
  • 1/2 part pimento dram (allspice liqueur)
  • 12 parts small ice

Flash blend all ingredients for about five seconds. Serve in a fun vessel, and garnish as below. Classic serving is 1/2 ounce per part per person.

The classic garnish is a long skewer with three cherries and a pineapple spear; three dots, and a dash, see? Since I currently have no pineapple in solid form, I nestled the cherries in a pod of a pineapple leaf. It is still three short things, and one long.

Three dots and a dash stand for the Morse Code letter ‘V’. The drink was invented during World War Two, and V for Victory was an important part of the mindset of most involved in the war effort on the Allied side.

Winston Churchill Victory Two Fingers
Winnie liked his V’s too.
Source: The Independent

Winston Churchill was central to popularizing the V for Victory two-fingered gesture. Most of the time, he flashed the V with his hand turned to have the palm facing out. When he flipped it around, as shown in this picture, there is an older, severely rude meaning. Since he did it only seldom, I’m sure each time he did, he did it for added effect. Winston Churchill was exquisitely calculated in all his insults. He was a stutterer, so every “spontaneous” quip he made had to have been thought out in advance to make sure he didn’t stumble on its delivery. That means he had locked and loaded this in advance, the greatest putdown in history.

Bessie Braddock (MP-Socialist): Winston, you’re drunk!
Churchill: Yes, Bessie me dear, and you’re ugly. But in the morning, I shall be sober!

Basement Bar Design: Volcano Tiki Prop


Click through to YouTube for HD video.

Following my tradition of the last few years, I have transformed my modern, sleek basement bar into a Tiki wonderland for the entire month of February in celebration of Tiki Month. Each year, as I’ve learned more about Tiki, I’ve progressed in the decor from cheap, commercial paper products to more lush, realistic decorations, befitting a true Tiki lover.

Atop this post is a video featuring my big new item of decor for this year, my four and a half foot volcano, complete with lighting and smoke effects. The bottom of this post is a detailed description of its construction, along with hints and products you’ll need should you want to try to execute one of these beauties for yourself. I do want to point out that I also added to my collection perhaps the one piece of Tiki decor that virtually every real Tikiphile insists is essential for a real Tiki bar: The blowfish light fixture!
Tiki blowfish lamp
I purchased this spiffy little fishbowl at a Tiki event last Summer from a local artist named Yelena, along with smaller red and blue glass float lamps. I hung them from my track light rails, and wrapped the power and extension cords with jute rope to make it look more rustic. These lights don’t actually produce any usable light; just enough to be seen. They are damned hard to photograph well, but this over-lit picture will show how I mounted them for my temporary installation.
Tiki blowfish and glass float lights
I also increased the amount of living foliage. This is cheap to do at this time of year, because Home Depot and Lowe’s run great sales about now on tropical indoor potted plants. Who wouldn’t want to be out shopping for orchids at five below? (Pro Tip: park real close to the store’s exit so the flowers don’t die before you reach your car.) With the lights down, there are numerous dark areas of the bar that are essentially too dark, so I added lots of those small, battery-operated votive candles in various holders to those areas to change them from block holes to mysterious corners. Behind the forest now hangs my neon canary in its bird cage. (It is my hope that this guy will next year sing the theme to the Enchanted Tiki Room…)
Tiki Plant Decor
But the big thing is my nearly life-sized Mt. Pegu Pegu volcano!
Completed paper mache volcano
I think this prop is awesome. It is very light, portable, and reasonably sturdy (though hardly tough). I’ll be able to store it in my crawl space when it isn’t Tiki Month.

In addition to showing the volcano in action (the effects are even better in real life), the video also has all that most people would actually be interested in about its construction, in picture form. But for those of you who might actually want to try making one yourself, read on. I’ve got high-res pictures, with explanations, a few product details, and an admonition or two.
Read More

Tiki Compliant: The Queen’s Park Hotel Super Cocktail

Queen's Park hotel Super Cocktail
The Queen’s Park Hotel Super Cocktail is actually a pre-Tiki cocktail, but it fits perfectly into the category my friend Joe Garcia calls “Tiki Compliant“. Both Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic learned their respective Tiki drink templates in the rum soaked Carribean (Don as an itinerant youth, Vic as a cold-eyed businessman doing market and product research), consuming drinks like (and perhaps including) the Queen’s Park Hotel Super Cocktail. It checks all the required boxes for me to make it compliant: rum, citrus, exotic syrups, and melded flavors. I hesitate to just pretend it is an outright Tiki drink because of its origin, and its name, which is too British.

QUEEN’S PARK HOTEL SUPER COCKTAIL

  • 1 1/2 oz. gold Trinidadian rum (I used Mount Gay Eclipse because my Angostura 5 Rum bottle is on fumes)
  • 1/2 oz.Italian (sweet) vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. fresh homemade grenadine
  • 4 dashes Angostura Bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice and shake to chill well. Strain into a cocktail glass or small Tiki vessel and garnish with some form of elaborate lime garnish.

One of the things I love about this drink is that it uses vermouth! I had not encountered a Tiki recipe that used the stuff before, and I’m glad to see that you can make a quite tasty tropical that employs it to good effect. This one will be on the menu the rest of Tiki Month, and I intend to experiment with better and better rums, as this is a Tiki cocktail that I suspect will show off the better spirits, rather than waste them.

I found this in Jeff Berry’s lastest fantastic work: Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean. (Currently in stock from its publisher, Cocktail Kingdom) I will certainly have a full review of this book later in Tiki Month 2014, when I’ve finished most of it. Suffice it to say here that not only is it a great cocktail book, it is also a fantastic history of the Carribean as a whole, seen through the lens of the bottom of a glass.

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